17 best British writers and poets

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

Britain is definitely the birthplace of most of the most eminent and great writers in the history of mankind. Among them are like recognized during the lifetime of geniuses, and those whose talent was appreciated by dignity only years after their death. We offer your attention to a selection of the very best of the top ten.

Geniuses of the literary word: the best British writers and poets

Nomination Author Key works
CLASSICS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE William Shakespeare (1564–1616) Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, King Henry IV
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Portrait of Dorian Gray, Canterville Storybook ghost, perfect husband
George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) Pilgrimage of Childe Harold, Don Giovanni, Oriental Poems, Gyaur
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) The Adventures of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Life of David Copperfield told by Imsamim
John Galsworthy (1867-1933) Forsyte Saga, Justice, Dark Flower
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) Vanity Fair, Virginians, Newcoms, Book of Snobs, Pendennis
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Pygmalion, Disciple of the devil, House where hearts are broken, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Dowager’s Home, Profession Mrs. Warren
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Heart of Darkness, Typhoon, Lord Jim
Geniuses of the first half of the 20th century Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) Sherlock Holmes (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Dog Of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four, etc.), Study in Scarlet, Lost world, White squad
William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) The burden of human passions, The moon and pennies, Theater
Agatha Christie (1890-1976) Mousetrap, Murder on the Orient Express, Ten Little Indians, The assassination of Roger Ackroyd, Death comes at the end, Death on Nile
George Orwell (1903-1950) 1984, Animal Farm
Herbert Wells Time Machine, Invisible Man, War of the Worlds
Geniuses of the second half of the 20th century John Ronald Ruel Tolkien (1892-1973) The Hobbit, or There and Back, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion
William Golding (1911-1993) Lord of the Flies, Darkness, Heirs
Kazuo Ishiguro (1954) The rest of the day, An artist in a shaky world, Inconsolable, When we were orphans, Don’t let me go, Where the hills are in the haze, Buried giant
John Fowles (1926-2005) Collector, Magus, French Lieutenant’s Mistress, Tower ebony, etc.

Classics of English Literature

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

Rating: 4.9

William Shakespeare

Key works: “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet”, “Othello”, Macbeth, King Lear, King Henry IV, Summer Dream night”.

One of the greatest playwrights not only in the British, but also in world history. The creative legacy of this recognized since the life of a genius is incredibly multifaceted, different in colorful characters, subtle psychology of the plot and popularly even later several centuries. No other writer can boast such frequent productions of his plays around the world.

Incredibly little information has been preserved about Shakespeare’s life. Skeptics and detractors claimed that he was an uneducated redneck (despite the fact that the writer’s works are striking in their excellent vocabulary the stock and depth of historical knowledge). It is known only that the theater made the playwright an incredibly rich man (he was a co-owner of the theater company “Servants of the Lord Chamberlain”) and his creations, according to many researchers, formed the basis modern english language.

Interesting fact. Shakespeare had four grandchildren, but none of they did not give birth to heirs, therefore the great race The playwright broke off pretty quickly.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Rating: 4.8

Oscar

Key works: “Portrait of Dorian Gray”, a collection of short stories Canterville Ghost, The Perfect Husband, How Important It Is To Be serious. ”

The famous writer and poet is considered one of the key dramaturgy representatives of the late Victorian era, as well as a symbol of aestheticism and European modernism. Oscar Wilde was born in a wealthy, educated family, so I got a great education, graduating from Oxford University. Still being nobody famous, young Wilde quickly gained popularity in the secular environment thanks to its wit, incredibly delicate taste in clothing and charm.

Already the first stories written by a brilliant Irishman and poetry collection bring him fame, and published through 9 years the only novel “Portrait of Dorian Gray” finally secures his glory. Oscar Wilde was known as an incredible esthete, and it was manifested literally in everything: his speech, manner behavior, clothing and even in every work.

A striking example of Wilde’s wit and indiscretion is count one case at a New York airport. When passing customs procedures to the question of whether he has items, to be declared, Wilde replied: “I have nothing declare, besides my genius. ”

Already at the peak of fame, the writer was accused of sodomy and sentenced to almost 2 years of hard labor. This led to the loss of the family, friends, money, favor of the readership. After the liberation writer left Britain for France, where he died in agony after a couple of weeks from acute meningitis.

George Gordon Byron (1788-1824)

Rating: 4.7

George Gordon Byron

Key works: “Pilgrimage of Childe-Harold”, “Don Juan “,” Oriental poems “,” Giaur “, etc.

Among all the poets that Foggy Albion gave to the world, Byron, perhaps, can be called one of the most significant. Become popular during his lifetime, the writer seemed to challenge himself, working incredibly hard and very fruitfully. Which, however, in no way reduced the quality of the works: all of them differ in amazing subtlety and depth of feelings, lyrical penetration and beauty of the syllable.

Byron published his first poetry collection in 1807, and he was mercilessly defeated by criticism in the Edinburgh Review. But critical article came out only a year after publication Byron’s collection, which largely influenced the fate of the young man as a poet. Byron himself subsequently wrote that, appear this criticism immediately after the release of the collection, perhaps he would forever threw poetry.

And during that one year period of “silence” in the press, Byron managed to compose “214 pages of the novel, a poem in 380 verses, 660 lines of” Bosworth fields “and many small poems …”, and, in addition, satire The English Bards and Scottish Critics are the answer to negative criticism. Satire’s success was colossal and amused wounded pride a young poet.

During his short creative life Byron managed to create many magnificent works that have had such a significant impact on poetry in general, that even a separate literary genre appeared, referred to as Byronism.

Interesting fact. Despite his love of gambling and alcohol, Byron was considered an excellent athlete. Not least due to congenital lameness and a tendency toward fullness, which terrified him, seriously fond of swimming, rock climbing, shooting, racing, even loved to box.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Rating: 4.7

Charles Dickens

Key works: “The Adventures of Oliver Twist”, “Big hopes “,” Life of David Copperfield, told by imsimim “, “Posthumous Notes of the Pickwick Club”, “Cold House”, etc.

One of the greatest English-language writers in history, major novelist, essayist, famous prose writer of the 19th century. Although in the novels Dickens is both a fabulous and sentimental beginning, his work considered the reference peak of realism. Having achieved life tremendous success, Dickens left the grandiose descendants literary heritage. Based on the works of the great classic More than 180 films, series and cartoons were shot.

Although during his lifetime, Dickens managed to become a spoiled child of fate – famous, revered, idolized, he worked tirelessly, often bringing themselves to near exhaustion. As it moves life to sunset in the writer’s head the melancholy thought of that “political aristocracy, coupled with … parasitic elements are killing England. “His works became more harsh and even looking at life through pink glasses of humor, contours Dickenson reality was very harsh.

It’s funny that the writer was not only prolific in creativity and personal life (he had 10 children), but also in behavior: he had a lot of strange habits. For example, he quite often and completely unexpectedly fell into a trance, every 50 written lines necessarily drank a sip of hot water, always slept with his head strictly north. In his own words, he was often visited ghosts and to get rid of them he often in the evenings went for a walk along the crowded streets.

John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

Rating: 4.6

John Galsworthy

Key works: The Foresight Saga, Justice, “Dark flower.”

The great prose writer and playwright awarded the Nobel Prize in field of literature, Galsworthy was born into a very wealthy family, but at the same time he was considered an ardent fighter for social justice. IN his many-sided work, he advocated radical changes in the judicial system, the social status of women, the struggle for rights animals, etc. When John Galsworthy was awarded the knighthood, then abandoned him, saying that reformers and writers should not receive rewards.

John Galsworthy is the author of 20 novels, 27 plays, 3 poetry collection, more than 170 short stories, several essays, several hundred letters, etc. It is noteworthy that the works were more popular during the life of a writer. After his death, interest in Galsworthy’s creativity fell sharply, he was attacked by Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. But after the successful one came out in 1967 film adaptation of the cult work of Galsworthy (The Forsyte Saga), interest in the writer’s work has increased again.

Interesting fact. For 10 years, the writer had a secret affair with the wife of his cousin – Ada. When after father’s death Galsworthy gained financial independence, Ada divorced her husband and married a writer.

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Rating: 4.6

William Makepeace Thackeray

Key works: Vanity Fair, Virginians, Newcombs, Book of Snobs, Pendennis, etc.

The genius of a realistic novel, William Thackeray, while still a student at Cambridge, showed remarkable talent for satire, writing his first poem, Timbuktu. Leaving the institute, future writer traveled around Europe for a while, studied the art of painting, what came in handy later on: he illustrated on his own their works, very subtly conveying the main features of the characters in caricatured form.

Thackeray’s first novel “Katherine” did not bring him fame. Only after publication, after 5 years of becoming subsequently a cult novel “Vanity Fair” came to the author a real glory. Thackeray differed from most contemporary writers by non-standard a look at the plot image: in his works can be traced realistic, even pessimistic English life.

But at the same time, the author managed to masterfully depict evil and vice in his characters, combining them with humor and clothed in excellent artistry that the reader unwittingly showed to them keen interest. All Thackeray’s novels are full of satire and incredibly objective.

Interesting fact. Already being seriously ill, Thackeray began work on his latest historical adventure novel “Day Duvall, “but didn’t have time to finish it. In the obituary dedicated to Thackeray, Charles Dickens called the novel the best work a writer.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Rating: 4.5

George Bernard Shaw

Key works: “Pygmalion”, “Disciple of the Devil”, “Home, where hearts are broken “,” Caesar and Cleopatra “,” House of the widower “, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” etc.

Outstanding Irish novelist, playwright, Nobel laureate prizes in the field of literature, the show is considered the second most popular playwright (after Shakespeare) in the British theater. Among contemporaries Bernard Shaw was known as a man of remarkable, sharp like a razor of the mind. The playwright became the only person awarded at the same time both the Nobel Prize and the Oscars (per script). It is noteworthy that from the monetary award for the literary award of the Show refused, but he accepted the medal.

Few people know that Shaw was seriously fond of boxing and even He competed in middleweight. It is thanks to these the writer’s knowledge managed to convey the necessary atmosphere so masterfully in his novel The Profession of Cachel Byron, where Shaw’s first teacher In boxing, Ned Donnelly is presented as the character of Ned Sken.

It is noteworthy that already in the first decade of its activity to The show came to fame as a playwright. For his long creative life Bernard Shaw created 63 plays, several novels, critical works and more than a quarter of a million letters. For works the great playwright was typical separation from the traditional at that time prim morals. The author called a spade a spade and often represented in his works any everyday issues, thereby becoming to some extent a follower of naturalism.

Bernard Shaw’s plays were full of not only sharp (even too much for the representative of the Victorian era) of humor, but also of various topics developing political, economic and moral issues. At playwright were psychological plays, works affecting the problem of the future of humanity. The writer worked almost until the last years of his life, which, by the way, was quite long (Shaw lived 94 years), but only some works of that period have received widespread public acclaim.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Rating: 4.5

Joseph Conrad

Key works: “Heart of Darkness”, “Typhoon”, “Lord Jim”.

A descendant of the Polish revolutionary, nee Jozef Kozhenevsky, born in the Russian Empire (Kiev province), Joseph Conrad went down in history as one of the classics of the English literature. Researchers attribute the work of a British writer to neo-romanticism, which is characterized by strong characters, exotic atmosphere, turbulent, unusual events and a binding ideal feat.

Perhaps a role in the development of Conrad as a writer played his life as a sailor. For several years he was a sailor on various courts, then became second assistant, and finally received a certificate captain almost simultaneously with British citizenship. Soon he wrote his first short story, The Black Navigator.

In 1890, Conrad made an impressive trip along the river Congo, being the captain of the steamer Rua de Belge. During this period he fell ill with malaria and rheumatism, which undermined his health in further. Moreover, it is African adventures and impressions. then they will form the basis of his most famous work – adventure story “Heart of Darkness”.

Interesting fact. One of the main works in creativity Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is reflected in modern culture. Taking the basis of this particular novel, director Francis Ford Coppola created The cult film “Apocalypse Today”, moving action in the times Vietnam war and making the main characters military.

Geniuses of the first half of the 20th century

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

Rating: 4.9

Arthur Conan Doyle

Key works: all works related to the famous Sherlock Holmes (“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, “Dog Baskervilles “,” Sign of the Four “, etc.),” ​​Etude in Scarlet Colors “, The Lost World, White Squad, etc.

The brightest representative of Gothic literature, author numerous works of historical, humorous, detective and science fiction genre, Conan Doyle became the creator of classic literary characters – detective Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger, Officer Gerard.

Contemporaries noted Arthur Conan Doyle not only as incredibly mannered and gallant man, but also how versatile personality. The writer led an active lifestyle, was fond of power sports (although his favorite sport invariably there was billiards), even became a voluntary tester of one from the first motorcycle prototypes.

In the legendary Notes on Sherlock Holmes, the writer used hitherto unknown forensic methods. Only after the release books police officers took them into service.

Interesting fact. It was Conan Doyle who was the first to came up with inflatable liferafts and body armor. Also he turned out to be the first person to offer to dig an existing one tunnel between France and Britain.

William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

Rating: 4.8

William Somerset Maugham

Key works: “The Burden of Human Passion”, “The Moon and pennies “,” Theater “.

The British writer is deservedly considered one of the brightest and the most influential novelists and playwrights of the 30s. For my long Maugham wrote 78 books; more than 30 plays. The future master of literary words was born in a family hereditary lawyers, but he doesn’t connect his life with the bar planned: he studied philosophy and literature at the institute. At the same time He began to try himself in the literary field.

Maugham wrote his first work in 1897 (the novel “Lisa from Lambeth “), but success came to him only in 1907 after productions of the play “Lady Frederick”. The writer traveled a lot drawing inspiration from new cultures and surroundings. In 11 years of fruitful writing, Maugham was already able to afford Buying a villa on the French Riviera. She became his home and one of the most influential literary and social salons of that time.

Interesting fact. During World War I writer collaborated with British intelligence (Mi-5) and in 1917 was sent to Russian Empire to help the Provisional Government. After the beginning of the October Revolution and, accordingly, unsuccessful completion of the mission, left the country through Sweden.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976)

Rating: 4.8

Agatha Christie

Key works: “The Mousetrap”, “Murder in the East Express, Ten Indians, The Assassination of Roger Ackroyd, Death comes at the end, “” Death on the Nile, “etc.

An unsurpassed master of detective prose, playwright, one of most published authors in history (by this criterion Christie second only to the Bible and Shakespearean writings). For her life lady Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan, and that was the name of the famous writer (Christie – the name of the first husband), published 60 novels (6 psychological including), 19 storybooks, 16 plays. He is the creator of the legendary detective characters – Hercule Poirot and Mrs. Marple.

One of the plays – “The Mousetrap” – became a kind of record holder: since the first production in 1952, it is this play set in the theater the maximum number of times (it is still then). Although Christie herself claimed that the “Mousetrap” is not her favorite play.

As a child, Agatha dreamed of being an opera singer and composer, but, growing up, changed her mind, deciding to work as a pharmacist. Getting married in the second time, Christy traveled a lot to the East (her husband was an archaeologist, a specialist in Central Asia), often drove a car, flew on an airplane, loved to ride, but gained fame thanks to the revolution in the detective genre. Although, even becoming a famous writer, she considered her work only hobby.

George Orwell (1903-1950)

Rating: 4.8

George Orwell

Key works: “1984”, “Animal Farm”.

The famous prose writer, poet, publicist (real name Eric Arthur Blair), author of the acclaimed dystopian novel “1984”. It is he coined the term “cold war”. Ardent opponent of totalitarianism in any manifestation, a staunch supporter of civil socialism until the last days believed that a socialist is a person, seeking to overthrow tyranny, not the one who promotes it becoming.

During his short creative life Orwell managed to visit a literary critic leading on the American BBC, published a number of serious sociological and cultural studies works, published 16 poems, which few people know about. Orwell was in the number of volunteers traveling to Spain when it started civil war, but after six months of fighting was wounded by the fascist a sniper in the throat and nearly lost his life.

Interesting fact. As a young man, Orwell loved works Herbert Wells, but, becoming a famous writer, began to criticize Togo. Offended Wells sent Orwell a letter in which he actually demanded to reread his early creations with special attention.

Herbert Wells

Rating: 4.7

Herbert Wells

Key works: “Time Machine”, “Invisible Man”, “War of the Worlds”.

A writer with an incredibly vivid imagination who managed to create creations whose main ideas are decades ahead of their time. Wells successfully worked in many literary genres, but the world fiction brought him fame. Herbert Wells stated that our space is four-dimensional 10 years before of how this theory was voiced by Albert Einstein. And he described the atomic bomb 30 years before its invention, predicted the Second World War II, flight to the moon, the invention of wireless communications and many others

Interesting fact. In 1938, during the radio show War worlds “in the USA there was a mass panic: American radio listeners decided that a report from the scene was being voiced.

In 1923, a genius science fiction writer was the first to introduce the theme of literature. parallel worlds. Also mentioned in his works invisibility, anti-gravity, etc. Although similar ideas were for the author is not an end in itself, but only a technical technique that helped to brighten highlight the social problems of society. For example, in his “Machine of time “Wells moved away from the topic of fiction, focusing on realism. After the transition to realism, his works became over time much less popular.

Geniuses of the second half of the 20th century

John Ronald Ruel Tolkien (1892-1973)

Rating: 4.9

John Ronald Roel Tolkien

Key works: “The Hobbit, or There and Back,” “The Lord rings “,” The Silmarillion.

Legendary writer, philologist, translator, linguist, professor Anglo-Saxon language. Creator of a new literary genre – epic fantasy. Of course, before Tolkien there were also authors, who wrote in the fantasy genre, but it was he who rendered this literary strong influence, therefore, he is considered the “father” of high Fantasy In 2008, The Times listed him as “50 greatest British writers since 1945, “putting on the 6th a place.

Returning from World War I, Tolkien devoted himself exclusively scientific career. He was considered one of the youngest Oxford professors (he was 30 at that time) and was soon recognized one of the best philologists in the world. It was at that time that he began work on a whole cycle of legends and myths of Middle-earth, which subsequently becomes the Silmarillion published posthumously the son of a writer.

For his children, the writer began to compose fairy tales, and then systematized them and wrote down on paper “The Hobbit” published in 1937. The work was successful, therefore the publisher Tolkien suggested that he write a sequel. But work on “The Lord of the Rings” dragged on for as long as 16 years. Released in 1954 the year the book was a resounding success, which surprised the publisher and the author himself.

Interesting fact. In the 1920s, Tolkien set about translating the epic British poem supposedly VII or VIII century – the oldest a sample of literature of “barbarian” Europe, preserved to our days. The writer completed the work, but did not publish it. Poem yet saw the light almost 90 years after its completion: son writer, a long time editing the work of his father, published it in 2014 year.

William Golding (1911-1993)

Rating: 4.8

William Golding

Key works: “Lord of the Flies”, “Visible Darkness”, “The heirs.”

Revered British writer, Nobel laureate in literature, creator of 12 novels, the first of which is “Lord of the Flies” – is considered one of the most significant works in world literature of the 20th century.

After entering Oxford University Braiseous College young Gold needed 2 to study natural sciences years to understand the fallacy of your choice and change your academic program, focusing on literature. It is an interest in English language, coupled with a passion for antiquity, further defined the basis his serious works.

As an Oxford University, Golding began writing poetry. One of his friends made a compilation of them and published them. Subsequently, the young writer regretted that the collection saw the light of day. (although the verses were excellent). Once he even acquired one instance and destroyed it (later he found out that he destroyed collection value).

Golding’s first novel (Lord of the Flies) was rejected 21 publisher, and the 22nd published a work by a novice author. IN as a result, the creation of the british became truly cult, bringing him world famous.

Kazuo Ishiguro (1954)

Rating: 4.7

Kazuo Ishiguro

Key works: “The Rest of the Day”, “An Artist of a Shaky World” “Inconsolable”, “When we were orphans”, “Don’t let me go”, “There where the hills are in a haze “,” The Buried Giant “.

The writer was born in Japan, but when he was 5 years old, along with his parents he moved to the UK, where Kazuo’s father invited for research oceanographic work. Ishiguro graduated from the University of Kent, then became a Master of Arts in University of East Anglia. Writer in his literary career started in 1981 by publishing 3 stories.

For his debut novel, “Where the Hills Are in a Haze”, the writer was Winifred Holtby Award. His second novel, The Artist shaky world “became the book of the year in Britain. Third (” The rest of the day “) was awarded the Booker Prize. Critics believed that the Japanese managed to write “one of the most English novels of the XX century.” By the novel was shot the sensational film “At the End of the Day” with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

Ishiguro is the author of several jazz lyrics singer Stacy Kent. It is noteworthy that after graduation Ishiguro traveled throughout Canada and the USA for a year night clubs and at the same time looking for a producer who would help him start a music career. Giving an interview many years later, he said that this experience greatly influenced his life.

John Fowles (1926-2005)

Rating: 4.7

John

Key works: “Collector”, “Magus”, “Mistress French lieutenant “,” Ebony Tower “, etc.

Famous novelist, essayist, brightest representative literary postmodernism. Fows taught for a long time in University of Poitiers (France), then worked in Greece, where met his future wife, who became his faithful companion for 35 years. She had a significant impact on the personality of Fowles and became the prototype of many of his heroines.

In 1963, a novice writer published his first novel “Collector”. And after a couple of years he was filmed. Success books gave Fowles the opportunity to leave teaching activities and devote yourself to literature. In the late 60s, 2 more were released. novel of the writer, striking with the audacity of design and excellent manner of narration.

Fowles was considered a closed man, led a rather closed image life, rarely appearing at social events. Noisy environment the writer always preferred a quiet, homely atmosphere.


Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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